Pfaff Fragments

Published in 1713 by C.M. Pfaff, these four fragments were said to have been found in the Turin library and, moreover, according to Pfaff, they were written by Irenaeus.* These documents dealt with diverse subjects ranging from the Eucharist to a synopsis of the “true gnosis.” Since their first appearance in Maffei's Giornale de' letterati d'Italia, they were suspected to be pseudonymous, although until the nineteenth century they were regularly quoted and discussed by scholars. In 1900 A. Harnack* showed that they were a fabrication of Pfaff himself. He built his case primarily upon the theology reflected in the documents (it was Pfaff's own Lutheran doctrine of the Eucharist) and certain linguistic considerations—e.g., he showed the dependence of these documents upon the Textus Receptus* and certain defective Greek editions of Irenaeus which were current and available to Pfaff in the early eighteenth century.